Some work environments are known for a more colorful language. Many can cite creative language as one sign you work for the Department of Defense (DoD) or defense industry. But the quick oust of White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, after a profanity-laden conversation made the front pages, is one sign profanity isn’t always appropriate. It can be the icing on the cake that gets you fired from a job.
Our backgrounds and beliefs play a lot into whether swearing is a part of our vocabulary. Regardless of your thoughts on swearing, it’s better to consider whether it’s helpful for your career to clean up your language while you’re on the job. We all have a lot of habits that we would consider doing while on our own time, but when we enter the office, our focus has to shift. The office is a place to work together for a common goal. When coworker behaviors become distracting (including profanity), it makes life challenging for everyone around them.
Is your Profane language professional? Or juvenile?
Your language is one aspect of whether or not you’re deemed a professional. Merriam-Webster defines professionalism as “the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person.” While the definition may seem vague, there are many components of the “conduct, aims, or qualities” of professionalism at work. Of course, it is about being qualified and competent. Ethics play a role, too. However, self regulation and image are usually what coworkers and clients judge professional levels by on a daily basis.
Swearing will rarely benefit the work environment, and you always risk hurting your career in the long run when you are too free with your language. The ultimate question should not be on whether you should swear or not, but rather put your focus on how your language encourages open communication and teamwork. Remove any excess language that detract from meetings, one-on-one conversations, and presentations.
Scaramucci may have had valid concerns about fellow White House Staff members; however, his communication style overshadowed his message. In order to be effective at work, you have to consider your audience and your message. If your coworkers and clients only remember your communication style or word choices, it means your message was lost.